By Jessica Grigolava
As cold weather approaches, winter recreational activities are beginning. Club ice hockey is offered every Sunday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Field House. It’s an opportunity to stay active this winter and meet new people. Full equipment is required, but new members do not need any experience. New players are encouraged to join the coed team.
Club Vice President Nolan Makel explained what a usual day at practice looks like.
“Club hockey is open to everyone who would like to learn,” Makel said. “All they have to do is show up with proper attire, this means full padding. An average skate starts with a warmup which includes shooting around on the goalie and stretching. Next, we like to incorporate a drill. This may be skating backwards around the circles or practicing passing with a partner. After that, we will scrimmage each other, depending on the number of people we have normally it is a 4v4 with one goalie. We end with a friendly shootout on the goalie.”
The club numbers have gone down significantly compared to a few years ago. There have been inconsistent players showing up, which could be from the pandemic and members graduating.
“Since this is a club sport the number of players varies, but we usually have about 10 people,” Makely said. “Because of COVID-19 and a large portion of participants graduating I would say we are in the rebuilding process. We are not permitted to scrimmage other schools because we have such few numbers. It’s a goal of mine to help spread the love of hockey and keep this club alive.”
Many clubs also travel and play with other schools. Although Plattsburgh is notorious for the women’s and men’s hockey teams, the club itself does not play against any other schools. It varies from rugby club and even frisbee club that travel to other schools for games or tournaments.
Club President Ryley Duffy explained his thoughts on the matter.
“Somehow our school had a reputation of being a hockey school historically, yet, the administration has never supported a traveling club ice hockey team,” Duffy said. “They are not willing to even consider the idea.”
Many schools that are much smaller, even the Albany College of Pharmacy, support travel club hockey teams that play in leagues.
However, the club is still a great place to meet new people who share the same interests. It can build a sense of consistency and gives you a routine that starts off your week with a bang. It can be another way for the Plattsburgh community to come together at an event.
“New members do not need experience. Before playing club, it had been years since I stepped foot on the ice,” Makely said.
Makely believes the best part of the club is “that we all share a passion for hockey. I love chatting in the locker rooms and on the ice about how our favorite teams are doing this season.”
“Some advice I’d give to new members would be to show up,” Makely said. “If you are nervous about trying something new, that is totally okay. If for some reason there’s ever a problem or concern you can talk to me or Ryley and we will figure out how to make it more enjoyable.”
Makely was very passionate when it came to handling newcomers. To ease potential anxiety and fear of judgment, the team has implemented new skills for learning as well as drills to make you more confident on the ice.
“It is in our best interest to make club hockey a great time for everyone because we love hockey,” Makely said. “We understand that we aren’t trying out for the NHL and some people are super new, so we have a lot of patience. There is a wide range of skills and we know this. As hockey players we want to make the game fun for everyone, the best skater on the team is not going to dust the newbie. We usually take it easy because we know that it isn’t fun to just get burned every time.”
Aside from hockey, college sport clubs are a great way to connect with people and have the feeling of being a part of a team.